Thinking Like a Lawyer

Congratulations on beginning your legal journey. Here are two important questions to consider as you start your first year of law school: first, what are the costs of learning to think like a lawyer, and second, how can you create a meaningful career for yourself while learning to do so?

The legal community that you are joining faces serious challenges. The statistics are sobering: drinking is a problem for one out of three lawyers, and over thirty-two percent of lawyers under 30 qualify as problem drinkers.[1] A study by the American Bar Association and the Betty Ford Foundation found that 28% of lawyers struggle with depression, 19% reported experiencing anxiety, and 23% said they experience stress.

Continue reading “Thinking Like a Lawyer”

Insurance, Gambling, and Law Students: Pools of Hope

When I served as Associate Counsel to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly as an attorney only a few years out of law school, the topics on which I advised were insurance and racing and wagering.  At first glance, there could be no greater difference between those areas of law.  What in the world could excess line or health insurance have in common with people watching horse races in fancy hats in Saratoga, or millennials playing games of chance at a bachelor or bachelorette party during a fun weekend with their former college roommates?

Upon further reflection, the topics are fundamentally similar, and their significance resonates with the experiences of law students.  Both insurance and racing and wagering involve the premise of individuals pooling their money together, while hoping that to paraphrase the best-selling series The Hunger Games, the odds will be ever in their favor.   Now, how does this relate to your experiences as a student at HLS intent on establishing a career in the legal field?  The overall theme of hope that unites both these avenues of law is one of utmost importance to law students universally.  Continue reading “Insurance, Gambling, and Law Students: Pools of Hope”

What Every Harvard Law School Student Should Know About Deciding What Kind of Law to Practice

A bright law student whom I mentor recently asked for advice in determining which field of law she should practice.  She articulated the stress that she experienced in struggling to narrow her focus in the legal sector with little actual experience or exposure to different aspects of law.  This situation is one that law students routinely face, and below are some suggestions to help you in your journey.  

You are not alone.  If I had a dollar for every law student (and lawyer) with looming uncertainties regarding what area of law to practice, I could probably afford to retire right now (not that I would, because I actually found a job that was the right fit and honestly love practicing law, and if you follow this advice, you hopefully will as well). Continue reading “What Every Harvard Law School Student Should Know About Deciding What Kind of Law to Practice”